08 March 2018

Northamptonshire County Council has welcomed a report by the National Audit Office which highlights the unprecedented funding challenge facing local authorities across the country.

The report by the Government’s own spending watchdog looks at the increasing demand pressures councils are facing amid substantial central government funding reductions since 2010/11.

It also states that the Government delay in reforming the way local government is funded, scheduled to be implemented in 2021, is exacerbating the financial challenge.

Social care costs

The report goes on to warn that the challenges currently facing Northamptonshire are also being felt by other local authorities as a result of rising social care costs and low levels of reserves.

Northamptonshire County Council deputy leader Cllr Matthew Golby said: “This report is significant for Northamptonshire because it endorses what we have long been saying about the growing financial challenge facing us and many other county councils.

“In our ongoing discussions with the Secretary of State we have been calling for an urgent review of the funding formula for local government and, as this report states, the delay in bringing this forward is having an impact on all of us.

“It also demonstrates that increasing demand and cost pressures in social care are having a real impact on our ability to provide non-statutory services and leading to some very difficult decisions having to be made both here in Northamptonshire and across the country.

“We hope that the best value inspection, which is due to report back next week, recognises these national pressures and the significant impact they are having in Northamptonshire.”

Reducing funding

The National Audit Office report states that there has been a 49.1% real-term reduction in funding for local authorities between 2010/11 and 2017/18, and a 28.6% real-terms reduction in local authorities spending power (government funding plus council tax).

It also reports that 66.2% of local authorities with a responsibility for social care had to draw down their financial reserves during 2016/17.

To report the report in full, visit the National Audit Office website.